As one of the most popular family vacation spots in Batangas, Club Balai Isabel is packed year-round with fun activities and plenty of accommodation for both adults and children. While it depends on the level of immersion you’re looking for, a vacation here can always be well spent.
The resorts’ amenities are great for those who wish to go on an adventure and get off the beaten path. I’ve narrowed the top 10 things to do in Club Balai Isabel in this other blog post. This time, let’s check out the ambiance of the place from its reception area, rooms, common areas, and discuss our experience of their service and review of the food.
Review of Club Balai Isabel’s Room Accommodation, Service, and Food (Talisay, Batangas)
Located at the heart of Batangas, Club Balai Isabel opens its doors to thousands of tourists yearly as it can accommodate up to 700 guests at a time. The resort features fully-equipped hotel rooms, spacious villas and cozy cottages. We booked weeks earlier via a DealGrocer voucher and asked if we can check in before 2pm (the standard check in time). If prior guests would check out early then we can get our rooms; otherwise, we would have to wait until they’re available.
While passing time, we had breakfast in Isabel’s Panaderia and Pizzeria, watched the view, and played board games. After about two hours, the staff informed us that one of the rooms was freed up. We got our bags from the car, went to Mabini Suites (Balai Mabini) and quickly unpacked.
Checking in at the reception area was a breeze. We reserved three rooms: two Deluxe Rooms and one Superior Room. Since we exceeded the standard room capacity, there’s an additional charge of PhP 1500 per extra person which already includes breakfast and use of facilities and amenities in the resort (except for the Aqua Park, water sports, bike rental, and courts).
The Deluxe Room is at the fourth floor of Mabini Suites. The space is good enough for 3-6 people to stay in (regular capacity is 3 and allowable extra persons is 3). It’s complete with queen-size beds, a tile-floored bathroom with limited toiletries, a mini refrigerator, a kitchen counter, a television set, a working desk, and plenty of cabinets/storage areas to keep bags and belongings. There’s a private balcony where you can wake up to a breathtaking view of the resort’s landscape garden and an “attic area” which also has beds.
My other colleague and I stayed in the Superior Room at the third floor of Bayani Suites. It has the same things as the Deluxe Room but only one queen bed (an a pullout mattress which we didn’t use), since the room is good for only two people to share. Overall, the interior design looked simple and streamlined. Another plus: We couldn’t hear the people in the neighboring rooms, so there was a sense of privacy.
I have a few qualms listed below. While these aren’t a big deal and wouldn’t have completely soured our stay, I think they’re worth mentioning nonetheless.
- The rooms weren’t too neat (there were very visible cobwebs) and the bed mattresses were too soft and almost uncomfortable for my liking.
- Only three bath towels were allocated in the Deluxe Room’s toilet and 1 for ours. My friends asked for additional towels since we paid for the extra people’s accommodation anyway, but the staff said we would be charged for them. We said okay, for convenience’s sake. Unfortunately, they never came to us to deliver the towels, so some of us had to share towels. Apologies were not offered, not even at check-out.
- The shower in the bathroom was reliable for both cold and hot water, but the water pressure from the shower head was weak and wasn’t substantially constant.
- Some parts of the hallway weren’t well lit. The area from the staircase had good lighting but there was no light at the farther end where our room was located. I always had to use “Torch” (flashlight app in my phone) to see and unlock our door.
- The air conditioning units worked well except for one which leaked water and caused flood in the room.
Upon entrance, the welcoming staff greeted us with hospitality and showed us the map of the resort. They shared information about the available facilities, costs of packages of tours and activities, free Wi-Fi login credentials (the wireless Internet is accessible only in certain public areas and not in the rooms), and the use of the eco shuttle service which can take us around the villas and compound.
Throughout my exploration of Balai Isabel, the guards I encountered were all helpful in pointing me to right directions. There were lifeguards on duty near the pools to respond to emergencies and spot medical situations to ensure guests’ safety when swimming, but they weren’t at all times present. The front desk staff accommodated my questions well and with enthusiasm.
Now, the cons:
- Housekeeping was poor. Since it was raining almost the entire time during our stay, the floors were wet. There was no staff mopping the floors of the common areas in the building. Hence, the floors, walkways, and the stairs were slick and slippery. The result may be a higher incidence of accidental slips and fall hazards.
- Customer service in the in-house restaurant was very slow and inefficient. One of my friends asked for vinegar six times and for the last time, she got fed up and just got the vinegar directly from the kitchen. I asked for water and it was served only after my third followup. Food we ordered came super late in three separate instances: when we had our breakfast in the morning, our lunch, and our snack in the afternoon. Average waiting time can be put as 30 minutes at the minimum.
- As mentioned above, they didn’t give out extra bath towels for the additional headcount in the room even when requested. Tissue rolls and toiletries also weren’t added considering the extra people paid for.
Club Balai Isabel features an on-site restaurant, Terraza Cafe and Restaurant, that serves Filipino food favorites. We ordered traditional home-cooked meals such as Pork Sisig (PhP 300), Balai Bagnet (PhP 360), and Pork Sinigang, and appetizers like Crispy Calamares (PhP 220) and Cheese Sticks (PhP 180). These were not flat-out yummy but portions were decent for sharing and tastes were palatable enough to satisfy our hunger.
For our mid-day merienda, we had Quattro Formaggi Pizza (PhP 280) which consisted of perocino, gorgonzola, parmesan, and mozarella. It was the best entree among all those we got. It was simple and wonderfully delicious. With creamy and tangy cheeses, it’s the ultimate rich cheese lover’s dream pizza.
The complimentary breakfast buffet was probably one of the purest pleasures of our experience. We savored the breathtaking views of the volcano, lake, and swimming pool from the dining area and enjoyed a wide variety of food selections from the restaurant. Choices were more of Pinoy breakfast food staples like dried fish, eggs (sunny side up, omelet, scrambled, boiled), longganisa, rice (plain and fried rice), potato slices, bread (pan de sal), porridge, rice cakes (kakanin), and also included pancakes, waffles, cereals, cinnamon rolls, and more. The meal was filling and it’s the glorious flavor of vacation.
Price for Value:
The room accommodation, service, and food didn’t pass with flying colors. For the most part, the range of activities you can do and facilities that can be used in the resort make up the value of the price you’re paying for. PhP 1500 per person is a reasonable rate considering the resort’s unbeatable location, essentials, and amenities. Albeit with a few hiccups, Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas is a good and recommended venue for a short vacation, team-building session, or day tour with friends and family without forking out extortionate prices.
Read my previous post for the things you can do in Club Balai Isabel. 🙂